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Life Lessons from Nature, Naturally

Life Lessons from Nature, Naturally


The fauna around us doesn’t vie for our attention. It simply weaves its way around obstructions and continues to grow unfettered. It teaches life lessons ever so subtly

By Manjulaa Shirodkar

Road trips, especially along natural wonders – can be great teachers. They are so much fun especially if you have time at your disposal and energy levels required for driving for long hours. You can cruise at your pace yet admire the rapidly changing landscape around you;you can stop once in a while for some snacks or roll down that window for a smoke; occasionally turn to the fellow passenger to make mundane conversation or have a heart-to-heart depending on your mood. But along the way, do remember to enjoynature at work.

Plus, if this road trip is taken during the peak of monsoon in the Western Ghats of Bharat – referred to as the Sahyadri mountain range in Maharashtra and Karnataka, you don’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Trust me. After all, why would you miss out on this glorious opportunity of observing these quiet, benevolent mountains? Indeed, the word Sahyadri translates as ‘benevolent mountain’.

And last weekend accorded me and my better half just this opportunity to drive through the Ghats. As we drove from Mumbai to Pune for a weekend, rain found us around Khandala and Lonavala both ways. Glorious mist at noon, low lying rain-filled clouds, fresh, breathing greenery all around on the mountainsides, gently flowing fresh water springs reminded me that there is so much life in there.

The shrubs, bushes, vines and even the tiny water springs were not jostling each other for space. They did not seem in the least insecure about how much of place they will get to survive or evenfor how long they will survive! They just found their way around obstructions and flowed – as life does.

I am reminded of the vines,that sprout along the length of the mountain side, particularly during this season. The vines care little that the human in his wisdom has decided to ‘bind’ the rock face with a mesh, to prevent any stones or rocks sliding down to the roadside. He has done it only to protect himself. The vines don’t care. They simply twirl around the man-made web of iron and steel.

The vines know no better. They find their way along the mesh. They grow taking the support of the net instead of complaining about it, doing the best possible under the given constraints. There is so much adaptability in them. Can we not, with all our intellect and ability to understand and assimilate everything, learn anything from these vines? Can we not emulate them and live without stepping on each other’s toes without making life tough for each other?

I am visualizing the bamboo now, which bends with the strong winds only to turn upright later. It goes with the flow and continues to grow to its full capacity unfettered and unconcerned as to how the winds will affect it. It just knows the way to be. Can we be witnesses too in our ‘rushed forever’ lives? Its tough to slow down when you’re on the roller coaster called life. It demands of you not just your time but your energy too and you’re unable to get off it because of the unending chores at home, growing up demanding kids, work deadlines, spouse issues, parents’ pressures, relationship hassles, financial woes, the noises in the head – you name it.

We don’t have time or the inclination to learn from nature. Least of all, when its teaching us this unobtrusively. Nature which is full of bounty and so willing to give but none has the time to receive its gifts because we’re so busy ‘living’ and earning. And to what end? To enjoy precisely all this and more – after retirement possibly.

We dream of buying that cottage on a hill-top or on the beach front, to be amidst nature.And so we continue to rush around and earn as much as we can today, so that one day in future we may live in peace in natural surroundings! Little do we realize that nature is taking its course and we are surrounded by it even now, right here even as we run from one task to another. All we need to do is, stop – pause – breathe and find a life lesson.

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Birds of paradiseI am reminded of the dry branches which are the first to fall off a tree. The stiff snaps first you see. How they break away from the parent tree and lie by the wayside, willing to be used as firewood or to be brushed away in trash. We who have lost the rasa in our lives, are like the dry branch waiting to be snapped off from the tree of life. Surely we can do better.

We can adapt – just like those vines on Sahyadri. Or like the Birds of Paradise which grow in my backyard… quietly, gradually and unhindered – till one spots the magnificent bloom. It doesn’t fight to be seen or to be heard. It just is and look how glorious it can be.

Nature is offering us a similar opportunity to grow. All you need to do is observe, adapt, be malleable and you will find yourself tall and strong. And just by the way, nobody messes with a deeply and completely rooted tree which has grown to its full capacity. Trust nature, trust yourself. Growth will find you.


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